By Oumnia Guedda | Morocco TIMES 9/12/2006 | 3:34 pm
A simple headache, insomnia, nightmare, accident, food poisoning, fever, problem at work, a simple court-action for a non-respected red light and all is because of Sha'ban (eight month of the Islamic calendar).
A number of Moroccans, who believe in evil spirits, think that all these things happen when an inhabited person does not give a present to the Jnoun (spirits). That is why the month preceding Ramadan (the month where the spirits are caught and chained) is animated by Hadras (evenings organised to give presents to the spirits).
Everyone has a version but they all believe that the spirits avenge themselves in Sha'ban on people who do not honour them.
“When we are possessed by evil spirits, we are messed up during Sha'ban,” said one of Hadras attendants.
“People pretending to be modern do not know - or rather feign to ignore- that it is absolutely necessary to make gifts to spirits during this period of the year. That's why the spirits take revenge on them and sicken them during this month,” another attendant said.
Believers of evil powers all agree that people who have been victims of spell casting in any moment of the year suffer a lot during the weeks preceding Ramadan.
“The evil spirits give full vent to their anger before they are chained in Ramadan,” they added.
So, to avoid any eventual vengeance from the spirits, believers of the paranormal organise many ritual evenings during Sha'ban, either simple Henna painting sessions, putting on clothes of certain colours, or mystical gatherings.
“Whatever the form or the quality of these rituals, it is dedicated to satisfy the Jnoun. The demands vary from one possessor to another,” say fortune tellers.
Some other affirm that possessed people must visit a saint of their region to enjoy good health during this month.
“The jin haunting me, called “Hammou”, obliges me to organise a Hadra during the first 15 days of Sha'ban and to wear a newly-made red dress. I have also to paint my hands with Henna, offer an imperatively red chicken, dried fruits, dates and sugar,” said a fortune teller, adding that she has done the same thing every year since she was 19 years old.
The source of this information is a fqih (healer), who delivered her of Leriah (epilepsy attacks).
Another young woman, 25, has to organise a colossal ritual every year, for the simple reason that she is not only haunted but totally possessed by what she calls the Fqih of all Jnoun “Chamharouch”.
According to her, she was obliged to become a fortune teller when she was 18.
To satisfy her possessor, she has to offer a bull, wear a white dress and paint her hands with Henna. To avoid being punished by Chamharouch, she has to organise three Hadras of different kinds, Jilala, Hmadcha and Gnawa.
Adepts of other Jnoun like “Mira”, “Malika” and “Aicha” have to organise evenings with the “Aissawa” (a Sufi brotherhood in Morocco and all the Maghreb countries whose rituals include singing and chanting accompanied by musical instruments), offering yellow-coloured or black-spotted chickens.
Others offer goats and black chickens and organise a Gnawa evening for a jin called “Mimoun”.
At this period of the year, selling chickens (the coloured Beldi one) becomes an enriching trade.
Beautiful men and women with wonderful cars are seen in markets ordering specific chickens.
When asked why these beliefs are widespread, everybody says that our religion recognizes the existence of Jnoun as creatures of God, who have the same destiny as humans.
Everybody has a world of his own. Some believe in Jnoun and some others in aliens.